by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
photographs, privacy, royal wedding, street view, uk

bbc, google

Google Street View Is Invasion Of Privacy... But The BBC Showing Everyone At The Royal Wedding?

from the double-standards dept

We've been somewhat mystified about the complaints people have about images of people on Google Street View. Google is now "blurring" people to help deal with the issue, but it seems pretty silly, really. You're out in public. Someone can randomly take your photo. Of course, the backlash against Google Street View has been particularly harsh throughout Europe, where people insist it's a massive affront to their privacy. And yet... Glyn Moody points us to a blog post comparing the reaction to Street View to the reaction to the BBC putting up a high-def image of crowds at the Royal Wedding, and asking people if they can spot themselves.
This raises an interesting question on privacy and balance.

Google decided to blur the faces of ordinary people going about their ordinary activities caught on Street View.

The BBC have decided, where events like the Royal Wedding are concerned, it's fine to have high definition street shots showing the faces of ordinary people in the crowd; not to mention police officers, armed forces and - presumably - under-cover crowd security officers.
It certainly seems like a double standard. Is there something different about this being an "event"? I can't see how that makes much of a difference, really. Is there something about it being a "US" company vs. a UK organization? Or do people just not really think through these things until someone freaks out and screams "privacy violation!"?

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  1. identicon
    Techdirt Reader, 4 May 2011 @ 10:37am


    People are going to freak out. That's what masses of people do when led by zealots claiming anything controversial. It's the way society works and how leaders with bad policies but good charisma continue to find their ways into places of power.

    Human beings want to be a part of something, and want to feel they are protected. If someone points out that they are being violated (even if it's NOT really a violation) people WANT to believe the person trying to protect them. It's how pedophiles pray on the innocent.

    People will continue to scream for more privacy, more privacy, "You're violating my privacy!" as long as courts and media and whoever else will listen. Are there genuine concerns? Possibly. Is it mostly for show and an attempt to seem more important than one is and trying to protect people from something they don't actually need to be protected from? More likely.

    People love to bring up the argument that if you let them do then they will naturally progress to . I personally find it hard to believe the nativity of this argument but then find it sad and disconcerting that such a thought even comes up. Either in the minds of the people assuming such things happen or a government entity wishing to impose it.

    In the end, Google Street View, if you can catch me on the sidewalk either eating a hot dog or propositioning a prostitute then congratulations! Either case, I really don't care. When Google Street view photographs me sleeping in my bedroom, then we'll have words.

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